By Abdulmumin Murtala – Kano
The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission has on Wednesday summoned three prayer agents involved in extorting money from clerics that took part in a special prayer session against COVID-19 recently organized by the state government.
The clerics were said to have been offered cash souvenirs of N50,000 each but the agents stopped them on their way out to retrieve N45,000 from each of them claiming that they were instructed by the Special Assistant on Religious Affairs, Ali Baba to only give the clerics 10 percent of the amount.
Addressing newsmen, the chairman of the anti-corruption commission Muhyi Magaji told newsmen that the commission has received the complaint from some of the victims and the act contravenes section 22 and 23 of the laws of the Commission and it is going to take the necessary action.
“Whosoever is serving as a worker and it is part of his job to present the services of third parties, for example bringing clerics to perform special prayers, according to sections 22 and 23 of the commission it is a crime to extort the third party.
“Such an offence can attract between 2-10 years in the correctional centre if taken to court” the anti-graft boss stated.
However, the Special Assistant on Religious Affairs has also confirmed to newsmen that he was the one that instructed collecting 90 percent of the money but not for himself, but for other clerics that have not attended the prayer session but have performed the prayer at home and mosques.
“I have informed the clerics that they should not keep such money but take a part of it and surrender the remaining so that other clerics that have not attended will be engaged in the same prayers at their centres, mosques and schools. Instead of the clerics to just keep the money to themselves, they should rather share it with others to attract them to the government. It is, therefore, the responsibility of those who invited others to surrender something for them” he said.
The Commissioner for religious affairs in the state Muhammad Adamu also said that although he was absent at the prayer session due to other official engagements, he was informed of the incident adding that no one was instructed to extort money from anybody.